As part of its global environmental policy, Seco Tools (Troy, Michigan) has established a new recycling initiative that offers customers the option of selling used cemented carbide back to the company. The cutting tool manufacturer says that taking the lead on purchasing, collecting and dealing with used carbide makes it easier for customers to take part in recycling efforts. The company estimates that it will recycle 50 percent of the inserts it sells by 2014.
In a typical case, less than 5 percent of a carbide insert is actually worn away when a user replaces it, leaving 95 percent of the carbide intact, the company says. Potential environmental gains from using recycled product in favor of virgin material include 35 percent less energy usage and a 40-percent reduction in carbide emissions.
The initiative is also expected to reduce the company’s reliance on mined tungsten ore. The material, which comprises 75 percent of cemented carbide content, is a finite resource that can be recycled an infinite number of times. According to the company, only 30 percent of the material is recycled worldwide, despite the fact that estimates show the world tungsten reserve could be depleted within the next few decades.